I got surprised!

I think the people who really know me know that I’m not festive at all. And so I’m not into parties and social gatherings. And to be honest, I do not know exactly why. I’m the kind of guy who just prays through his birthday day for the most part. For me, it’s just a personal thanksgiving day, which I spend just looking back on the past year, and being grateful for how it had unfolded for me.

Yesterday was quite eventful.

Two days after my birthday, unbeknownst to me, a certain team of people have come up with a surprise birthday celebration for me. This cunning team of “suspects” apparently included some of my closest, closest friends, and, to my surprise, my family.

It was well planned out. And up to now, I’m still trying to put the pieces all together as to how it was all conjured up for as short as two weeks. Apparently.

As I try to wrap my head around it, I am feeling utterly overwhelmed by all of it (understatement). I am still in shock (understatement). I am tremendously thankful (understatement). And I am extremely happy (understatement).

But after it all, I got reminded that I am fortunate, I am blessed and well loved by these people who are collectively my family. They’re the “village people” who have helped raise me and shape me into who I am today. I thank the Lord for them. This memory will always be remembered and treasured.

And so here are some photos from yesterday.

Yo, Momma!


My love for this woman is beyond description. And beyond myself even.

My gratitude for having her in this lifetime is beyond measure.

Her role in my life is irreplaceable. Her impact and influence, irreversible.

Praying that you feel and absorb all the love and the blessings surrounding you today.

Love you Mothaa! The best is yet to come.

Special times

What a day it’s been! I thought I’d share a glimpse of that through a few snapshots. So my Lola (Grandmother) has just turned 75 today! And my family and I are just absolutely thankful that she gets to spend her birthday here with us in Syd, after we’ve been separated by distance for some eight long years because she now stays in the US.

Just like my family, my Mommy (that’s what we call her) isn’t very festive as well. When asked about how she wanted to celebrate her birthday, she really just wanted to celebrate it at home with us. No massive feast, no visitors, no frills whatsoever. She just wanted to spend time with us, and celebrate this momentous milestone.

During the day, she wanted to hear a mass (I know, I’m not even used to saying that anymore as I haven’t been Catholic for years now). I think this is her being traditionally Filipino, because if it is your birthday in the Philippines, you have to make sure you come to church within the day to say your thanks, and summon blessings and good vibes. That’s basically it.

And so, we went to St Mary’s Cathedral in the city. It’s one of Sydney’s most beautiful church buildings I believe. Like seriously, it’s so grandiose, so majestic. And it’s been my Lola’s favourite go-to since she arrived.

Rie Manaloto24

Rie Manaloto665

Then we had a mini celebration at home. My Lola particularly requested my Pancit Palabok to be in the dinner menu, and so I tried my best to perfect the ever elusive recipe of mine.

Rie Manaloto555

Rie Manaloto4641

The ’75’ photo collage I conceptualised and created, made from (real) printed photos. It contains old and new images of my Mommy and our family. This really made her frisky! She loved it. It was worth the 3 hours of toiling, past midnight.

Rie Manaloto096

How do I sum up the day? It’s pretty simple, nothing too festive or ostentatious like she requested. We just stuck together and had heaps of fun.

I guess we’re a family that do not really depend on material things to get happy and feel blessed. The most valuable thing we could offer each other and gift to each other is our time. And just being together overthrows any need for material stuff or lavish settings. We know how to be content with what we have with thankfulness and appreciation.

Rie Manaloto122

Rie Manaloto464

It is also that time when we realise how important our Lola is, and how thankful we are that she’s been given another year to live, love and serve. Another year to be healthy, happy and favoured by our Lord. Another year full of grace and hope. That’s probably the most significant reason why we all must celebrate birthdays, however simple or grand it may be.

Rie Manaloto12



Port Stephens Experience Pt. 2

At long last! Here’s the part 2/2 of our Port Stephens vlog posted on Filozart’s Facebook page.

Heads up though, it includes a few scenes and themes that might be too weird or random for a regular person’s perception. Do not be freaked out though, it’s just us.

Rie Manaloto


In the trailers

The long wait is over. #UNPLUGGED is finally happening tomorrow! Filozart Youth is all set and stoked to bring you another product of our passions and hardships.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 11.59.03 am

Over the few months of working on this project, the gang has experienced so many things–fun, failure, unending revisions; our patience and our potentials have been tested, questioned, and challenged. We were criticised enormously, punched on every side, pushed to our limits. Again, it was the time this sequence of events has to take place for this venture to succeed.

And I absolutely believe that we got through it, that once again we managed to overcome these challenges, and kept our passion and love for what we do. And it behooves us to thank our parents for the relentless support and guidance all throughout this short but strenuous journey. There’s no way to repay them for their many efforts and sacrifices to make this event possible.

That being so, you all need to come and see the show! We’re very excited to share with you our songs and our stories. It’s going to be a night of fun and jam. So make sure that you do not miss this event!

I got you a few teaser-trailers that we have produced from our rehearsal days, and to also help you get to know our kids. We tried to give them at least 30 seconds of fame! And although what stands out is the weirdness and unlikeness of the group, we assure you that we will try our best to act “normal” on the night!


#UNPLUGGED: Your Songs, Your Playlists, Your Stories.
Friday, 20th of November at Pabico Club 55, Mount Druitt
Doors open at 6:00 PM



Rie Manaloto